Gregor Staiger, Zurich

Gregor Staiger and Marie Lusa on their temporary space in Milan

After the Coronavirus emergency, the news of the opening of the Gregor Staiger gallery in Milan is especially welcome: it represents the re-appearance of a high-profile international gallery, with a high-quality program, returning with confidence to the Lombard capital after difficult months of forced closure. “We asked ourselves about our role,” says Marie Lusa, co-founder of the gallery, “as producers of culture, we felt the responsibility to go back to complete what we had started”.

The gallery, based in Zurich, inaugurated a personal exhibition of British artist Lucy Stein on June 30 in a space rented by the organization Conceptual Fine Arts in Via Rossini 3, which has hosted interesting international galleries in the past. The Gregor Staiger gallery itself is not new to the Lombard capital: it had been guest of the CFAlive program last year and returned to Milan last February for a few months.

“Milan is an excellent complement to Zurich – says Marie Lusa – “the Italian collectors are very attentive and quick to pick up on novelty and he Italian public really appreciates our program”. “In recent years Milan has been getting more and more interesting with a very active local scene,” adds Gregor Staiger. “Hopefully, we will see this spirit return now.” After Lucy Stein, the gallery in September will exhibit Nora Turato, an artist who is having great success and who will be present for a performance. Raphaela Vogel will follow in October.

Lucy Stein’s paintings focus on female power, the politics of the reproductive system, and female sexuality. The artist combines her research with motifs from the Celtic tradition, which the artist discovered in Cornwall and deepened during a residence at the Tate St. Ives, and also with the history of English modernism and feminist literature. Her research intertwines her interest in witchcraft, folk songs, ancient sagas, mermaids, cosmology, and female icons, like the poet Sylvia Plath and the English surrealist Eileen Agar.

Lucy Stein is one of the first artists to join the gallery program, which began in 2010. In 2011, she was part of the group exhibition “Hysteria, Laughter and a Sense of Seriousness”, held in collaboration with the Zurich gallery Karma International. An exhibition dedicated to the painting of women and curated by Raphael Gygax and Mareike Dittmer, it marked a critical moment in the history of the gallery and for the affirmation of  painting by women.

Ten years after its opening (the anniversary is in September), the Gregor Staiger gallery continues to focus particularly on women artists, with artists such as Marie-Michelle Deschamps, Sonia Kacem, Shana Moulton, Rachal Bradley, Monster Chetwynd, besides the already mentioned Nora Turato, Lucy Stein and Raphaela Vogel. Figurative painting is also a strength, with artists such as Nicolas Party, Vittorio Brodmann, and E’wao Kagoshima, but also performance. “The gallery presents less of an aesthetic movement,” says Gregor Staiger. “It represents artists who have an idiosyncratic and courageous practice, like to experiment, and tend to go against the current.”